Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2018

2018 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 3: 5-1

2018 F1 season

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Which Formula 1 driver has done the best job so far in 2018? Here’s the final part of our mid-season driver rankings.

5. Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Beat team mate in qualifying5/12
Beat team mate in race3/11
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate293/686
Qualifying margin+0.07

Presenting F1’s unluckiest driver of 2018 so far.

When Valtteri Bottas spun his Mercedes into a barrier in a damp qualifying session at Melbourne, it looked like 2018 was going to be the story of his Mercedes career unravelled. His 2017 campaign hadn’t ended brilliantly, Abu Dhabi win notwithstanding, and it seemed Bottas was about to blow his chance at keeping his Mercedes seat.

Instead he bounced back immediately, out-qualifying and out-racing Lewis Hamilton at the next two rounds. Bottas stunned Sebastian Vettel at Shanghai, grabbing the lead through an early pit stop and burst of pace no one saw coming. The win was his, until a Safety Car period allowed the Red Bulls to put on fresh tyres, and Daniel Ricciardo cruised past for victory.

He tried a similar straight in Baku. This time the Safety Car helped him into the lead, but when he struck a piece of debris unsighted he was denied victory for the second race in a row. Throw in a further points swing against him when Vettel ham-fistedly bundled him out of second place at the start in France, and Bottas should clearly be in the thick of the title fight.

Instead he’s languishing 14 points off Kimi Raikkonen, a position which greatly underrates how well Bottas has driven. The fact Mercedes unhesitatingly signed him up for at least another year tells you much more.

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4. Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Monaco, 2018
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Monaco, 2018

Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying2/11
Beat team mate in race4/7
Races finished8/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate160/550
Qualifying margin+0.67

There is no doubt Red Bull will rue losing a driver of Daniel Ricciardo’s ability. Even if, as in previous seasons, it seems Max Verstappen has the ultimate edge in performance over his team mate, it’s Ricciardo who has consistently delivered points.

Verstappen can still learn from Ricciardo’s ability to blend speed and aggression with control. The latter is why it was Ricciardo, and not Verstappen, who won in China and Monaco.

Ricciardo’s consummate win on the streets of Monte-Carlo made him an outside in the title fight, despite already having two no-scores from Bahrain (power unit failure) and Azerbaijan (that controversial clash with Verstappen). A further two retirements since then – both due to technical problems – plus a grid penalty in Germany have ruled him out of contention for the championship.

However as Verstappen has cleaned up his act in recent races, Ricciardo increasingly looks like being overshadowed. If this is a sign of things to come, then his decision to switch teams could prove to be well-timed. His market value compared to Verstappen may never be higher.

3. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

Beat team mate in qualifying10/12
Beat team mate in race5/9
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate486/668
Qualifying margin-0.27

Should Vettel be leading the world championship? There’s no doubt he’s had a few slip-ups – notably the silly mistake in Paul Ricard. He also threw away a potential win in front of his home crowd, albeit with a minor mistake which would likely have had little to no consequences on any other part of the circuit.

But while Ferrari have clearly made great strides in performance this year, Mercedes had a slight edge in raw performance over the 12 races so far. This isn’t to say Vettel hasn’t missed opportunities – clearly he has – but the view peddled by some that he should be miles ahead of the rest underestimates how well he has driven.

For example, he continues to blow Kimi Raikkonen away. Only the next driver on the list has a better qualifying scoreline, and that is against a sophomore driver, not a world champion and veteran of almost 300 races. Canada, where Vettel dominated and Raikkonen followed the Mercedes and Red Bulls home, demonstrated how competitive Ferrari would look if Raikkonen was their leading driver.

This hasn’t been the case at every round. Raikkonen hit the ground running in Australia and it was luck which handed Vettel the victory. He followed it up with another win in Bahrain by nursing his car and tyres on a day when Ferrari had to resort to a ‘Plan D’ strategy to contain their quicker rivals.

Imperfect though his start to 2018 has been, Vettel has produced some excellent drives. With Ferrari clearly on an upward swing in terms of competitiveness, he goes into the second half of the season with a serious chance of more championship silverware.

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2. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Albert Park, 2018
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Albert Park, 2018

Fernando Alonso

Beat team mate in qualifying12/12
Beat team mate in race6/8
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate544/639
Qualifying margin-0.35

“Now we can fight”, were Fernando Alonso’s words after he brought his McLaren home fifth and ‘best of the rest’ in Australia. But since then it’s become painfully clear that replacing their Honda power units with Renaults hasn’t transformed McLaren’s competitiveness, and Alonso’s ambitions have been increasingly limited to the lower reaches of the points positions.

And so that’s where Alonso has usually been found, grinding out results with his rock-solid race pace, as he has been doing since his world championship winning days. The difference is the car – a point Alonso is in no danger of allowing anyone to forget. Yet you can’t help but look at how well he’s driving and wonder whether he’d be leading the championship in an SF71H – or even an RB14,

He has a perfect record in qualifying against a credible team mate, albeit one giving away some 15 years’ experience to Alonso. And his few failures to score points have usually been down to the car. Hockenheim was a rare exception – a blown call to switch to intermediate tyres meant he missed out on a useful points haul on what should have been an Alonso kind of day.

It will be F1’s loss when he bids farewell to the sport in nine races’ time.

1. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Beat team mate in qualifying7/12
Beat team mate in race8/11
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate393/686
Qualifying margin-0.07

Is Hamilton heading towards his fifth world championship success? If he is, it’s thanks in part to some outstanding drives which have bagged wins on weekends when Mercedes were uncharacteristically uncompetitive.

He went into the summer break with a 24-point lead which he stretched over Vettel with back-to-back wins in Germany and Hungary. These were both venues where Ferrari seemed to have the upper hand, but Hamilton’s superb feel for wet weather conditions tipped the balance in his favour both times.

He should have started the year with a victory, of course, but Mercedes got their sums wrong in Australia. Amazingly they did it again in Austria, but on that occasion a technical problem rendered it moot. Nonetheless, these should have been two wins for Hamilton. Like Vettel, when Hamilton’s first win came it was thanks to a slice of fortune.

Ferrari has clearly concentrated on improving its car’s one-lap performance – a vital area in a championship where running in fresh air on race day brings such an advantage. But Hamilton is every bit a match for Vettel on one-lap pace and at times – as his dazzling effort at Silverstone showed – he is capable of truly special feats.

As was the case last year, Hamilton seems to be thriving on fighting a rival outside his own team for the title. It was easier to look perfect when he was keeping Nico Rosberg bottled up in 2014 and 2015.

Facing one of his toughest fights to date, Hamilton could take the greatest successes of his glittering career. It’s a long way from being a done deal yet, however.

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Over to you

Is Hamilton the driver of the year so far? How would you rank all 20 drivers? Have your say in the comments.

2018 F1 season

Browse all 2018 F1 season articles

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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122 comments on “2018 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 3: 5-1”

  1. Ricciardo’s position is flattering of his actual performances and he has to mostly thank Verstappen & his incapability of making it stick when he should, for it.
    Verstappen gave away 2 open goal-wins (China & Monaco) with his silly mistakes & Ricciardo was there to take them. I don’t say that Verstappen would win them, but he was in slighlty better shape in both of them. In China Verstappen was first on the road with the fresh tyres, in Monaco RBR was a class above the others & the Dutchman seemed to have a slight slight edge.
    Bottas has improved this season, not in his pure pace which was good, but in his aggression & general approach. He has even improve his wet skills, which in his Williams days were horrifc…
    I would definitely swap Ricciardo & Bottas.

    1. Adub Smallblock
      17th August 2018, 14:24

      But aren’t Verstappen’s mistakes a big part of his “perfromance” rating? You don’t win races with one lap speed. If Max had not made the mistakes he did, I would agree with rating him above Danny, but hard truth is, he screwed up his own races.

    2. But aren’t Verstappen’s mistake a big part of his performance rating? You don’t win races with one lap speed, or even JUST by passing people. Danny screwed up his own races. Had he not done so, I would agree with rating Max higher than Danny, but hard truth is, Danny has outraced Max to date.

      1. But aren’t Verstappen’s mistake a big part of his performance rating? – Exactly. FBoys don’t accept this though.

        And where on earth are these claims that Max looked better in Monaco coming from? Max has been consistently outperformed by his teammates at that venue, year after year. DR topped each and every session this year, yet FBoys still claiming MV had the edge. Delusional. Get those orange glasses off and get off Max’ lap.

        1. Maybe you should get your figures correct. If you look at “all” training and qualifying, and races. I agree Daniel has outscored Max all the time when they are in the same team. But not if you look at all sessions. In the end all that matters are the points delivered at Sunday’s. But we can all see that when Max gets his act correct he is quicker then Daniel. For this year till now Daniel is performing better on Sunday then Max so he is placed correctly in a better position as Max.

        2. I’m 100% sure he outqualified and outraced Daniël in 2017. It was only thanks to RBR favouring Daniël in that race that he came out ahead. So get your facts straight, and drop the orange glasses rethoric, it only reflects poor on you and turns everything you say in spitefull doodoo.

          1. Hey, you again, hahaha.
            In the contrary, it only reaffirms me. It’s typical for an orange like you, that you mention the only instance of the 8 combined quali’s and races that Max had in MON, in which he was ahead of his teammate. And you saying that you’re “100% sure” is the cherry on top.

            My statement that MV has been outperformed still holds. ‘Performing’ ultimately refers to the race. The race in which DR was the faster one (but couldn’t pass being MON), stayed behind Max and conserved his tyres, waited for Max to come in, then did some FLs after which he pitted to get in front of MV. Just like Seb did with Kimi. He was plain faster. He had faster pace. Accept it.

            RB favoring DR? Hahah, ridiculous, desperate comment.

            And you know what? Even the half a second deficit, can be explained by other than skills. First of all, if you’re a follower of the sport, and not just finding convenient stats to make your orange point, you’d immediately know that something’s off. Just like the half a second at Silverstone this year. It turns out to be RB had DR sent on track in traffic in the out lap of his second and last run in Q3. Because of it, he couldn’t warm up his tyres enough. As a result, DRs second run was 0.1 sec slower than his previous run. MV on the other hand took 0.65 sec off his first run (much improved track conditions). So DR was 0.15 sec ahead of MV after their first run. That’s why he got outqualified (And in Silverstone this year he had lost DRS in his best run, so he would have been at least closer to MV, and it didn’t hurt him that much actually bc he started right next to MV).
            And as I already mentioned, he went on being quicker than Max the very next day.

            So you see, it is I who has the facts straight and your angry, desperate frustration comments only reaffirm my notion that you are blinded with your orange spectacles.

            Hope you can sleep well tonight now I’ve shown you a glimpse of the factual reality, again. Muwahahahahahhahah

          2. @krxx
            Beat team mate in qualifying 2/11
            Beat team mate in race 4/7
            Races finished 8/12
            Laps spent ahead of team mate 160/550
            Qualifying margin +0.67

            Thanks for the facts, Keith. Keep up the good work!

          3. Why wouldn’t gas and lec be in the top 3 with FA? they both smashed their teamsmates and drove well above their machinery..l don’t get why the quickest car drivers are always at the top..

        3. @Krxx

          Oh yeah, outqualified by almost half a second…….

          1. Us Max fans (fanboys to those who feel threatened or stung by him, or us, and therefore wish to take us down a notch) fully acknowledge the mistakes Max made earlier in the year and the points he resultingly handed DR. The simple facts are that Max made more mistakes earlier in the year, DR has been more consistent throughout the year, and once again Max is showing more raw pace. Applaud DR all you want for outpointing Max last year, and doing so again so far this year, but most would agree the sustainable formula for beating one’s teammate is not generally to be outqualified and outlead by him two to one, and hope he makes enough mistakes or has enough unreliability. I’ll bank on Max’s pace and ability to learn, and his future, over DR’s lesser pace even with 9 more years experience. As the article implies, DR’s stock over Max right now may have peaked out. I predict the year end rankings will show Max ahead of DR for having turned the last two thirds of his season around.

          2. but most would agree the sustainable formula for beating one’s teammate is not generally to be outqualified and outlead by him two to one

            Most would agree the sustainable formula for beating one’s teammate is not generally to crash into everyone and everything going for the first 3rd of the season.

          3. I love reading this “Max will get better faster and learn” stuff.

            Robbie – Jim Clark undertook the exact number of races as Max has.

            He had 33 poles, was a double champion, and missed two further by a couple of points. Oh and won the BTCC and Indy 500 along with three Tasman championships and the F2 championship within the same timeframe.

            That’s before we look at the likes of Alonso or Hamilton at 72 races…

            You can’t compare different times but this mythical Max thing is taking a bit of time to develop and he will be measured by current peers I just do not see how anyone can suggest he has outraced even his team mate so far.

            That’s just crazy. He has much to learn…

          4. @Martin True, which is why once Max cleaned it up he started gaining more points than DR. His pace has never been in question.

            @DrG So you’re suggesting Max won’t learn and grow? Or that he’s taking too long? You can’t see where there are races where Max has outraced DR? Even won a race this year? Has 4 wins so far and no car better than third in the WCC? Doesn’t Max have the record for youngest winner in F1? Given that we can even hear multiple WDCers saying they just had their best race ever, or have never been driving better etc, I’m surprised at your take on Max. He could easily have a 20 year F1 career and still not even be 40. Methinks he has many many achievements ahead of him.

          5. Of course he has beaten his team mate in a few races Robbie.

            But, and here is the rub, he has yet to beat him across a season and that has nothing to do with reliability.

            It has everything to do with believing the hype that seems to follow him.

            He is a talented kid. No question but people really do forget he is now a well experienced F1 racer. Not a rookie. Further that others have achieved far more within the same time frame in similar rated cars. Ie not the best.

        4. @KRXX You are a bit of the troll here I presume? I see you constantly attacking Max and his fans and that everybody defending him is delusional.
          Get real please, most of your drivel is based on biased dislike.

          Last year Max had the measure on Dan all weekend, only because of pitstop strategy was Dan able to beat Max. Do you realise Dan could put in faster laps because he had clean air and Max didn’t when he was stuck behind Bottas? You clearly missed that part.

          And if you got your facts straight, you would know that on race day Max suffered a failing car from the start until the moment he retired. Dan wasn’t faster at all. Funny how you ignore everything that doesn’t suite your argument.

          Your factual reality must have been a dream, because it is actually the opposite of what you say. But like I said before, I think you are out to get people and not out to have a normal debate. You have something against Max and that prevents you from having a normal descussion.

          1. Robbie l love Max and excitement he has created in F1 and no doubt he will be a wc or a multi wc BUT he is not there yet as his constant mistakes show us, lucky for Max he is racing in the modern era, he would not of survived in the 60s, 70s or 80s ect.

          2. Oh dear oh dear. I just love it when they struggle.

            I’ll tell you, Folkert, where your assumption is coming from. It’s coming from your FBoyism and the resulting inability and unwillingness to distinguish between stating facts and reasoning that do not support your worshipping of Max, and attacks directed at him. Hahahah, it’s so funny to see all of you FBoys like you and Robbie claiming that I’m hating on Max. Show them to me, those comments of me “attacking Max”. Funny to see these messages from you oranges that I must be trolling bc I don’t pronounce MV to be the star of every race, or at the very least the winner of the intra-teambattle every weekend, or even every session. The audacity. Infidel. Hahahahahhha.
            It’s also quite telling in what kind of terminology you think. Attacking and defending. And you actually feel the need to defend Max?
            Also, if there’s anything I’m not, it’s being biased. I’m not a fan of any specific driver, I just like racing. So being a fan of the sport/circus/show, would be a better description of me. And that’s a big difference between krxx and you as orange FBoys who, by definition, are biased. And though this what I say is yet again a fact, you’ll still dispute this, supporting my point and showing that there’s no talking sense in you and others like you.

            There you go again, talking big and ish about your idol, making up facts. “Max had the measure of Dan all weekend.” What are you gonna pretend he has done next, slain a dragon? I mean come on, who do you think you’re fooling, everybody can look up the figures and just see you for who you really are, a FBoy who can’t handle the truth and just makes up ‘facts’.
            You claim that DR only managed to beat MV bc of strategy. Well, why didn’t MV pull out the same strategy? He could have waited for VB to pit, do one or a couple of laps in clean air, and come out in front of him, just how DR did when he jumped both VB and MV. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, they even have a name for it: overcut. Ever heard of it? And it more often than not, stems from the given that the driver who’s behind (DR), is actually faster.
            So no, I didn’t miss anything, you’re just ignoring reasoning and sugarcoating your boy’s performance and downgrade DRs.

            Hey, Folkert decided to step it up a notch. Not satisfied with the earlier lie he came up with by just running around and screaming “Max had the measure on Dan all weekend”, he now even states that Max had a faulty car. Yet he could follow a Merc all day long AND be quicker than DR had he, DR, not have that unfair advantage of a strategy call free for everybody. Now I dare you, I double dare you to give me a link or other source that states the same. Now come on, I’m waiting.
            I however, as usual, like to have a factual view on things, and this is what I came up with:
            So it wasn’t just that DR beat MV fair and square, MV blew it in the pits, actually threw away a 4th place finish ahead of VB, at least. At least, bc had he not made that mistake, DR may not have made his move stick.
            The irony hahaahhaaha, this FBoy tries to incriminate me of not being factual, and in all his rash, orange (or orange rash?) hastiness comes up with a bunch of nonsense and ends up with being thrown another fact in his face that shows his idol underperformed. Ouch.. and don’t you go hating on the messenger, hahahahahahahahha.

            All your remarks about me hating on Max and making up my own facts, is just yet another desperate, panic attack like, sorry excuse of an attempt to discredit me. And -1 for execution, bc you basically and quite literally, are just using the exact same words I use to describe you orange, delusional FBoys.

    3. I agree. Verstappen looks like hes going to firmly put him in the shade (which prompted his Renault move), and Ricciardo got lucky that Verstappen made so many mistakes.
      Bottas should be higher though. His performances have been amazing this year. Being unlucky shouldnt count against him, he’s third behind Vettel and Hamilton.
      Alonso however, should be lower. I’d put hims sixth.

      1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
        18th August 2018, 8:17

        I do think Verstappen will be above come the end of the year. However it’s these 12 races so far that count and Verstappen has simply made too many errors. I’d probably put Alonso 6th too.

    4. @miltosgreekfan Boy I’d have to agree with you there, swapping RIC and BOT. #1 reason being Bottas’ qualifying margin +0.07 over Hamilton, and Danny’s +0.67 over Max. Danny’s consistency is what gets the points, and he still has that edge over Max. But Mr. Unlucky Bottas has been on another level this year and should be challenging for the championship.

      1. @priian Yeap, exactly. Its so strange to see Bottas winless, when he had some great drives this season.

  2. So Alonso could be leading the championship on the SF71H or the RB14 but not the W09? 8s that because his teammate would be Lewis? That’s quite harsh Keith, it was 12 years ago, c’mon

    1. Kind of hard to say whether Alonso would be leading in a Mercedes. I don’t think Alonso would have had ‘off days’ like Lewis did in China, Bahrain and Canada, but I’m also not sure if Alonso could have pulled off Lewis’ drives of Britain, Germany and Hungary. Would have been pretty close among them.. so I think it’s a fair assessment to put Lewis at #1.

      When you look at Vettel though, it seems more certain that Alonso would be doing a better job than him in that Ferrari, which is why I actually agree with Keith’s top 5 rankings. M

      aybe Ricciardo and Bottas could be swapped in their rankings, but that’s also debatable .

      1. Both Alonso and Vettel are too high on the list, so is Bottas if you ask me.

        Truth is we don’t know if Alonso would be doing a better job than Vettel. maybe he wouldn’t, but probably he wouldn’t made so many mistakes and just blame it on the car. So that sort of comparison is pointless.

        I think Hulk and Leclerc had a better first half of the season than Vettel, Alonso, Bottas and Riccardo

        We’ve seen Leclerc fight with no other than Alonso time and time again, yet he his lower in this list because he had some troubles, but there are almost 2 decades between the two. And no unlimited test for the rookies

        And if it is a given he would be leading in the Ferrari surely that’s true for the Mercedes as well no?

        1. And let’s not forget that the Sauber is an inferior package than the McLaren

          1. I think Sauber is superior to McLaren with the Ferrari engine.

      2. Lewis had a gearbox penalty in Bahrain, he didn’t have an off day.

        1. And broke down while leading in Austria but let’s not let facts get in the way…

      3. Hamilton wasn’t “off” in Canada. He had cooling issues in the race, which muted his pace. The only truly off-pace race he had was China.

    2. @johnmilk 11 years ago to be precise.

    3. He wrote that because the leader is driving a W08.
      He meant that Alonso could do a job better than Ferrari and Red Bull drivers. Just that.

      1. It was just a tongue in cheek comment

    4. @johnmilk @todfod I think Vettel should be leading the championship. I don’t agree that Mercedes has had the edge on performance on most of the 12 races so far. Vettel is not leading because he’s made more mistakes this year than in the previous two years combined. Of course it’s a bit silly to compare what Alonso could be accomplishing in one of the leading cars, but at the same time it’s fun. That’s the whole point of bringing it up, because it’s fun.

      Regarding the rankings… I think Vettel is ranked too high, Hulkenberg and Leclerc too low, and somehow I don’t feel comfortable with Lewis on top. He’s had brilliant performances, but the performance has been a bit peaky. I disagree with you that Alonso doesn’t belong that high. His only bad weekend as far as I know was France. Also, I don’t agree that the Sauber package is inferior to the McLaren. I thought that was evident from the last 6 races. It was Fernando’s driving, and some well executed strategy that has allowed him to score so many points. Look at Stoffel for reference on what could be Mclaren’s pace without Alonso.

      Finally, how would Alonso perform next to Lewis in a Mercedes? (I know silly comparison, but it’s fun to speculate, that’s the whole point) I think it would be like 2007 without the corrosive politics. I understand why Mercedes didn’t want him, but I feel like it was such a wasted opportunity. No only performance-wise, because those two would push each other like no others, but also marketing. It would be the biggest thing since Ayrton and Alain were paired. Yes… that ended in tears. But somehow I don’t think that a situation like 2007 would ever happen again between them. Too much respect and much better team situation (i.e. no Ron Dennis).

      1. It would be the biggest thing since Ayrton and Alain were paired. Yes… that ended in tears.

        It didn’t end in tears. They won all the championships (drivers and constructors in those years). They dominated the field in race wins per season and pole positions. Together they hit McLaren’s all time high in terms of achievements. It was a lot of tension within the team and lot of squabbling within the drivers, but the results were as good as they were only because they had the two best drivers in the the best team at the moment.

        It’s sad that we don’t get to see that anymore. Rosberg-Hamilton pairing at Mercedes comes a little close, but the rest of the teams just pamper their #1 driver these days.

        1. @todfod Solid point I should have said ‘tears.’ The reality is that it was the greatest period in the history of McLaren. In spite of the crashes and politics.

        2. And if there is a great pairing, like VER/RIC they do not have the right engine ;(

          1. It does come close.. Although if they were actually fighting for a wdc or WCC, they’d probably favour one driver instead of letting them battle it out

    5. Erm. Don’t you see that the W09 is already leading the championship? The praise of Alonso is actually made better by using the cars coming second and third!

  3. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    17th August 2018, 13:34

    I know many will disagree but no way Alonso belongs in top 5 – in my opinion he has been overrated for years. He is a solid good driver but certainly not out of this world.

    I seriously doubt if Alonso would have been at Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull he would have done better than the people driving there in the last 3 years.

    The rest of your 20 I can pretty much agree with although (despite being Dutch), Max probably should have been 1 or 2 places lower just because he threw away at least 1 win (China) an 1 podium (Monaco).

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer +100000000
      Seems the only one to rate Alonso higher than people on this site is the man himself

      1. The best part about it, is that Stoffel has been on the backfoot for his entire F1 career, yet is rated higher than some of the drivers on the grid.

        Propaganda still works mate

      2. No, I am with Keith. The man always delivers no matter what car he is driving. You may like it or not as a person, but he make very few mistakes and is consistent as hell. I think fans, haters and f1 fanatics will miss him in 2019. For sure I will. By the way, F1.com rated him the same…

      3. I started by thinking the rating given to him by Keith (@keithcollantine) was higher than what I’d have given him, but as I think about it and compare him to the other drivers, especially Stoffel Vandoorne and Carlos Sainz (his replacement), I think he does deserve to be close to where Keith placed him. So why do I think he deserves such a high place?
        Beating your team mate 12/12 times in Qualifying definitely pushes a driver up the list, and scoring points against the odds does too, and this second reason is why I think Fernando does deserve to be placed in the top 5.
        WDC points is what earns a team money. Fernando’s scored points in 8/12 races, which is above average for where he is on the points table. Stoffel Vandoorne scored points in 3/12 races with the same car. As Keith alluded to, the performance of the McLaren car is less than optimal and that getting points on 8/12 occasions is a feat. Only the drivers at the to of the WDC table have earned points 9/12 times or better than what Fernando did, conversely the only driver to earn points 8/12 times or better below him was Carlos Sainz. The driver ahead of him in the WDC table, Kevin Magnussen, scored points on 7/12 occasions, while the driver behind him, Perez, did it on 5/12 occasions.

    2. @jelle-van-der-meer +1, agreed. While some of the drivers positions were ones I mentally disagreed with, I could accept the rationale provided. This one stood out, however, as being too flattering a ranking for his 2018 performance. Alonso has done a good job this year of driving solidly and picking up points when available, instead of attempting to perform anything flashy, and for that he deserves credit. But not #2 on a list of 20.

      That said, if Alonso were demoted, I’d still think that Vettel should stay at #3, he has made those sort of mistakes that probably (in my eyes) keep him away from the #2 spot.

      1. @philylyp

        I think this year no single driver has been phenomenal. Lewis had 3 sub par weekends – Bahrain, China and Canada. Vettel has made quite a few mistakes, and been poorer than Kimi on many a Sunday (who’s been ranked at #14). Bottas hasn’t maximised his opportunities when Mercedes has been the quicker car. Ricciardo has been beaten by Verstappen convincingly in the last 6 races. Verstappen has made a slew of errors in the first 6 races. Leclerc started off poorly, and still doesn’t have a convincing record over Ericsson on Sundays.

        Alonso’s been consistently on it. Hasn’t really put a foot wrong this season… and is the only driver on the grid to have beaten his teammate in every qualifying session this year.

        I think at the end of the day, you have to ask whether Alonso would have had more points than Lewis or Seb if he was driving their machines. I’m not sure whether he would be beating Lewis… I’d put it at 50/50 , but I’m more convinced (as I’m sure a lot of readers and Keith is) that he would have a higher points tally than Sebastian if we was in that Ferrari. It makes sense if you’re placing Vettel at #3… that Alonso would be at #2.

        1. I agree with @todfod. Alonso has been immense this year.

          He only has himself to blame for not getting that third championship he so desparately wanted though. Success in F1 isn’t just about driving the car.

    3. @jelle-van-der-meer +1 Agree too. Even in Keith’s justification, it’s difficult to see how consistently beating a team mate with vastly less experience, and probably far less talent, makes Alonso’s performance worthy of second place. There is zero pressure on him, since no one expects anything from the car he’s driving and his not competing for anything remotely meaningful.

    4. Every so often I let myself think Alonso is overrated. Then I’ll see a compilation of the some of his driving and seriously question if I think Hamilton could still beat him consistently.

      The F1 YouTube channel has a great example up at the minute.

    5. @jelle-van-der-meer Alonso was leading the championship by 40 points at this same point with the F2012 (even accounted for reliability, they’d be leading, or very close to the lead), so I would think it’d be pretty safe to assume he’d definitely be doing a better job than SV now.

    6. @jelle-van-der-meer @mrboerns
      Trying to see how Alonso can be overrated, have you any examples of Alonso underperforming in the last 12 races?

    7. It is very easy to cross-reference Alonso’s speed with other drivers in the field.

      He had Massa, Kimi and Grosjean as team mates which have been team mates themselves (Massa/Kimi and Kimi/Grosjean), so you end up with a very solid comparison of Alonso’s speed vs these three guys and their later team mates.

      Using these comparisons it is
      A) easy to see how good Alonso was in 2010 and 2012. The Ferrari clearly wasn’t good enough.
      B) easy to see how good the 2017/2018 Ferraris really are. The drivers clearly aren’t good enough.

      Ergo, put Alonso in the current Ferrari and you have a championship.

    8. I think the main issue is these driver rankings are done on drivers reputation / general ability, not how well the driver is doing this year so much. The top drivers (except Raikkonen, who always seems to get harsh ratings) are all of the top 6, and drivers like Hulkenberg and Leclerc who’ve had probably better seasons than most of them (both Red Bull’s), are put behind, because they aren’t considered top quality drivers. Reputation of their quality seems to be more important.

      1. Of course, you’d expect the drivers with the best reputation to be driving the best, but at the same time, the likes of Hulkenberg and Leclerc aren’t in the same car as any of those guys, so you can’t really know if they’re doing better or worse, so the more reputable drivers are just assumed to be driving better and put to the top.

      2. Nope. I think the main issue is these driver rankings are done on personal sentiments and justifications. I’d stop to take this seriously when it put Rosberg in fifth on his winning year.

        1. Just about every publication put him there or thereabouts on his winning year…

          Mainly because his driving was pretty awful. There was a reason he had more penalties than anyone else that year.

    9. Alonso in a Ferrari in 2018 would be MILES ahead of anybody in the points right now. Ask any team principal on the grid, they’ll tell you this. And I think they’re a bit more informed than you.

      1. If Alonso would be miles ahead of any driver and your reference is to ask any team principle?

        Why has he not even had a lookin at been considered let alone bing signed by the top three.

        Without doubt he his one of the most talented drivers of his generation,. I would to reasonable guess that team principles see as bringing more problems than his high driving skills.

        1. you pay millions for academy and sponsors pay millions for ‘their’ driver to be in certain teams it really doesn’t look great when a guy in his late 30s destroys them.

          that is why they think he causes trouble. Just too damn fast.

          1. No other driver has a museum to himself before he has retired. I think that explains why Alonso might be seen as high maintenance by some team principals.

    10. @jelle-van-der-meer I agree that some drivers didn’t belong in the top 5. But Alonso is definitely one of those. I can’t think of another driver who has been driving at a high level who has made less mistakes (really I can only think of one mistake in France). Verstappen, Lewis, Sebastian, Lerclerc, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, and Bottas, have either peaky performance and/or too many mistakes. So I’m not sure who are the 5 drivers you think should be ahead of Fernando.

      1. Alonso has been driving well but i really dislike the way his mistakes are always swept under the carpet while Hamilton or Vettel’s mistakes become headline news and are examined under a miscroscope.

        Alonso was subpar/lacklustre in France. He made a mistake which cost him time, Vandoorne seem to be matching his pace/quicker, plus Alonso’s attitude was poor.

        Austria- Alonso made a mistake in qualifying-ruined his chance of being in the top-10 after running wide at the last corner and damaging his front wing.

        Germany-scruffy race, ran wide trying to excute an overtake, plenty of lockups.

        Yet we get the usual blind proclaiming Alonso hasn’t put a foot wrong.

    11. @Jelie
      No offense but you said “in my opinion” and that’s all it is – your opinion.
      We are observers and have not a clue as to what it takes to drive these machines.
      Who knows better than the drivers?
      So when I hear the praises heaped on Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton, I absolutely can be assured it’s true.
      I don’t put a lot of stock in these ratings but it’s interesting none the less.

  4. Verstappen should be above Ricciardo in my view. It makes little sense to say he looks to have Ricciardo beaten already this season but then say Ricciardo has performed better!

    It’s the inverse of Alonso – the latter has no pressure and can drive around blissfully waiting for his engine to pack in, daydreaming of Indy and WEC races. While Verstappen seemed to have the entire motor racing media snapping at him relentlessly for months, examining every on and off track flaw, and still he reversed the situation and has made an exceptional driver – Ricciardo – look ordinary. I think you have to take the vastly different situations and pressures drivers face into account.

    1. @david-br I agree, and totally take your point about pressure. To me, Max is extremely focused on winning as the overwhelming goal. Relentless hard charger that he is, I wonder if upon seeing that they were once again going to be lagging in hp this season, he just started overdriving to compensate. His own mistakes had already handed points to DR, and then Monaco, which on the face of it was a pretty silly mistake (but not some off the wall over exuberance or tangle with another car) that turned out to be extremely more costly than had it happened at other venues and not so close to quali that day.

      Since Monaco it has been 70-46 in Max’s favour with both of them having two dnfs. The difference between DR’s consistency and now Max’s new found consistency, is that Max has the raw pace advantage, so will consistently continue to outpoint DR if the trend continues and Max has gotten tired of handing DR points, which Monaco seems to have done for him. Consistently being outqualified and outlead by one’s teammate is not generally the formula to also outpoint him. There seems little more DR can do as the stats continue to fall in Max’s favour, whereas a clean running Max is running away from DR and getting into the thick of things more often. DR has shown all he’s got, and his pace seems his pace, the rest depending on whether Max falters or has a technical issue or not.

      1. Since Monaco.. Is that how you rate a season?? Verstappen completely failed I. Monaco and China, where his teammate took the ultimate result, did you miss that??? Ricciardo has got the results, verstappen has not, so how can you rate verstappen as better? Yes he has been faster, but completely unreliable with SO many driver eras that lost him so many points.

        1. And since Monaco he has changed. So pre-Monaco and post-Monaco are parts of the season so far. If you don’t want us to segregate post-Monaco, and you want us to just take all twelve races so far as a whole, then you can’t also say DR has got the results and Max has not, nor that Max has been completely unreliable.

          DR got the majority of his points through Monaco when Max was imploding and handing DR points, and since Monaco Max has cleaned it up and has gotten the majority of his points since then, with DR taking less now that Max is keeping it cleaner. They are now very close in points. Max has a win. If you don’t want to acknowledge the results Max has gotten, which have almost made him even with DR, then you are merely showing a personal skewing away from Max and in favour of DR. So, being nearly tied, how is it in your mind that Max has not got the results but DR has?

    2. @david-br

      I kind of agree… but we can’t discount the fact that out of the 12 races we’ve ranked them on so far, for the opening 6 race weekends Verstappen was arguably as poor as Grosjean (who’s been ranked dead last unanimously). I think you’re rating them on talent and ability.. in which I think Verstappen is ahead of Ricciardo, and he’s shown that since Monaco. But you cannot factor out the amateurish mistakes, spins and poor wheel to wheel racing he had displayed for the first 6 races.

      Regarding the pressure, you’d expect a top notch driver to handle it better than Verstappen did in the opening 6 race weekends. Heck, 4 out of the 5 drivers ranked ahead of him faced an equal amount of pressure this season, but all have done a better job of coping with it. The one driver who is ranked ahead of him, but hasn’t had the pressure, has shown throughout his career that he can handle it better.

      1. @robbie @todfod Difficult to differentiate for sure, but I think those mistakes earlier in the season were down to miscalculation rather than pressure. Verstappen seems mostly unfazed by events, but does, obviously, lack experience still. My view was that the collision with Hamilton and later being ‘pushed’ off track by him were down to misjudging Hamilton’s aggression at the start of a season (compared to the ‘pass’ Hamilton gave him in 2017 when Verstappen was no longer relevant to the title). The collision with Vettel was badly conceived and executed after he fell behind, probably his worst moment of the season. Monaco seems to be an unfavourable track for him. But add all of those separate elements together and a media narrative emerges that he was cracking under pressure. Maybe so, but I doubt it and the ease of ‘recovery’ since suggests that it was misconstrued.

    3. Even if Verstappen is normally qualifying and driving ahead of Ricciardo, and also see him as a faster driver than Ricciardo, it would feel wrong to rate him ahead of Ricciardo. He crashed too often when it counted.

      And don’t forget the sublime overtaking Ricciardo has done this year: China, Hungary and (forgot it). His overtakes of the field were much more impressive than the long straight DRS overtakes by the Ferrari & Mercedes drivers.

      1. But here. Is the thing: Dan has had 6 crashes or mistakesin 4 races.
        People hardly mention it, the media has been exaggerating the whole of the first 6 races.

        And like some have said before, Max has cleaned up his act and outperformed Dan since.

  5. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    17th August 2018, 15:32

    Alonso, the guy who’s quit on his team during a race, is ranked 2nd.

    Let that sink in.

    1. @braketurnaccelerate
      Vettel, the guy who can’t keep his car on the track in the wet, or lead a championship with the fastest car on the grid is ranked at #3.

      Let that sink in.

      1. I haven’t made a single mistake this season, I’m not even on the list

        1. Let that sink in

        2. You will on the top of this list too if you were a F1 driver. Unfortunately you are not. So I really don’t think your statement has any value rather than dissing.

          1. Or am I?

  6. Is Hamilton the driver of the year so far? – Purely results-wise, yes, but based on overall performance, a little more difficult to choose.
    How would you rank all 20 drivers? – I pretty much agree with this ranking, so I wouldn’t really change anything.

    1. Of the guys within the best teams, Hamilton has been the best, hands down.

      1. Indeed, there is also the pressure of racing for the top step which the lessers cars don’t have.
        And Lewis rarely makes a driver error.
        He is driving extremely well, had a few weekend where he wasn’t at his best level, yet he takes a big points haul and makes no mistakes.
        Vettel is seriously quick, but makes too many mistakes at the moment.

  7. Don’t agree with no. 1 at all, Hamilton has not been at his best this year. Bottas bad luck and 2 rain weekends have defined Hamiltons season so far to be ahead. Hamilton has NOT been as good as his car this year.

    1. But Hamilton has been fantastic in the wet this year. Those results were skill not luck so you can’t use those as an argument to say hes been poor this year.

      I don’t think he’s having his best year as he’s had a few off days but if you consider mistakes the other top drivers have made then it’s hard to argue he hasn’t been slightly ahead so far.

    2. Can’t agree with you because you fail to prove Hamilton has not been the best by not saying who has been better than him.

    3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      20th August 2018, 10:40

      You are aware it rained for everyone right. 😂

  8. Kenneth e jefferson
    17th August 2018, 17:30

    Picturing drivers on different teams is not realistic, without all the mechanical problems ricciardo would be ahead of max, vettel is mistake prone especially under pressure Hamilton has been the best driver, still has the potential to be classisc8fight to finish

  9. I have a nagging doubt about Alonso’s ability to set up a car. Senna could take a car that was clearly not the best on the grid and hone it into a race winner. In the past, Nando claimed that he brought six tenths to a car. Nowadays, I don’t see him bringing any significant uplift to his car’s basic performance. Of course he outperforms Vandoorne but could he hold his own against Verstappen in the same car?

    1. Different times.
      In the old days you could make more of a difference as a driver than you can now.
      Drivers bring that bit extra but not as much as in the 80’s.

      Vandoorne has to up his game and doesn’t look in the league of Verstappen but give him a car that suits his driving style and we might get a very different Stoffel, because he is good!

      1. If it is true that drivers don’t make such a difference nowadays, why are some so highly sought after and paid so very much more than others?

        1. seems all forgetting 2012 when he nearly won a title in the 4th quickest car.

          No offence to Senna but he could never do that, or certainly didn’t try it.

          1. 4th best car? Rbr definitly was Better and Lotus definitly was worse. So Ferrari would be 2nd best car at best and 3rd best car at worst. Mclaren was faster , but unreliable, Inwould put Mclaren and Lotus behind Ferrari, which was fast and reliable.

          2. True, Red Bull and McLaren were the fastest cars in 2012 and that Lotus was pretty amazing too (to date 2012 is Räikkönen’s best season in terms of points). That season Mercedes, Williams and Sauber were also stunningly fast occasionally. Still Alonso finished miles ahead of everyone bar Vettel.

      2. @f1infigures

        “Still Alonso finished miles ahead of everyone bar Vettel.”

        Not in terms of performance. Hamilton was also excellent. He finished vastly behind on points through no fault of his own. He had an unreliable car & McLaren was operationally inept. For many, after Alonso, Hamilton was the next best drivver. His performance was up there with Alonso’s.

        Here’s a couple of examples of what i mean



        1. Both Alonso and Hamilton deserved the title more than Vettel I think.
          The operational mistakes really were the reason Hamilton left McLaren at the end of 2012, as the car was fast enough to win the title. Even despite all the points lost he was still in the title battle until September. However, in the end the gap to Vettel and Alonso was huge. Poor luck and poor reliability contributed to that, as well as a couple of lackluster performances (especially Japan and Korea).

          1. “as well as a couple of lackluster performances”

            Alonso too had a couple of lacklustre performances (Japan,Brazil where Massa outqual him & jumped Alonso in the race, Abu Dhabi, China etc). The main differentiator was that Alonso’s car was rock solid reliable, he had a number 2 driver in Massa not taking points off him * willing to abide by team orders to help Alonso(Hamilton was battling Button on equal terms), plus Alonso’s team was more operationally efficient. Overall, i do agree with your statement that both Hamilton & Alonso drove better than Vettel that year.

  10. Nothing here I would strongly disagree with… can see the reasoning behind each placement.

  11. All good except for RIC. He didn’t show enough vs his team mate. Overall very good and likeable driver, I am a fan. But expected more vs his team mate that’s all. And yes, I am a Verstappen fan as well and am fine with him not being there on the top rankings . He had a questionnable start to the season, but am confident he will have plenty of time to get up there over time

  12. This is a dumb series of articles, as I’ve said in the second installment. If we’re not going to bother to analyze how well drivers have done given the equipment they have, then the current points standing is going to be a close reflection of whatever Keith was trying to come up with in this 3-part article.

    1. It’s Keith opinion and it’s a fun article to have and provoke discussion. It’s only when people take it so seriously it becomes an issue.

  13. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    17th August 2018, 19:13

    Difficult one, and I may change my mind one a few have commented, but here is my list. The rankings on this site are obviously and opinion and we can all have our different ones below. There are quite a few drivers I would move up or down quite a few positions. Will give some reasons for the drivers that I have moved about by several places as well as some of the positions I agree with.

    1 – Lewis Hamilton
    2 – Sebastian Vettel
    3 – Valterri Bottas
    4 – Fernando Alonso
    5 – Daniel Ricciardo
    6 – Charles Leclerc
    7 – Esteban Ocon
    8 – Kevin Magnussen
    9 – Nico Hulkenberg
    10 – Pierre Gasly
    11 – Kimi Raikonnen
    12 – Max Verstappen
    13 – Sergio Perez
    14 – Carlos Sainz
    15 – Stoffel Vandoorne
    16 – Marcus Ericsson
    17 – Brendon Hartley
    18 – Lance Stroll
    19 – Sergey Sirotkin
    20 – Romain Grosjean

    Verstappen. He may have had the best improvement of any driver, but an improvement from what? A terrible start. Keith had him as a struggler in all of the first 4 races as well as Monaco. The first 6 weekends included:
    Bumping over the kerbs in Australia This was the cause of the damage that later resulted in a spin, so he still should be blamed here.
    Crashing in qualifying in Bahrain. Questionable, but he didn’t not need to be trying as hard as he was as he’d already done enough to get through to the next session. The team may have asked him to do another lap, but it didn’t need to be at full pelt.
    Crashed with Hamilton in the race. He could have waited until a far more sensible place to have a go. Resulted in retirement.
    Went off track while trying to pass Hamilton. Later collided with Vettel making Vettel loose about 5 places and earning himself a penalty.
    Baku, Both were deemed at fault here, And I blame them equally. He saw that Ricciardo had taken the risk, so should have known that he would loose down force if he changed racing lines, which he did and it resulted in a double DNF.
    Spain was reasonably clean, but it came incredibly close to a puncture. A yellow flag should mean you are prepared to slow down. Anything could be there. It could be a still object. And yet he hits a car that is quite clearly still moving. Very clumsy. It was only a light tap, but if his front wing part dropped off like it did in a slightly different way, he will have got a puncture. Extremely lucky escape. But poor driving given the yellow flags were out.
    Monaco, this was practice, but he was trying to hard with barely a minute to go before the end of P3, barely with a couple of hours to go before qualifying. What a silly time to be trying to get a fast time. He bins it and gets a poor race result because of this.

    Just look at all of this above. I think there are also at least 2 other practice sessions he crashed out too. Despite him looking to have totally got over his messy start, he hasn’t more than made up for it overall. He’s very quick, can’t deny that. But he’s had more poor races than pretty much any other driver. I would have to rate him outside the top 10. I think Grosjean has had the worst season, despite looking strong in Australia, Austria and Germany. He’s had 3 DNFs but not as many bad weekends as Verstappen. Well, not quite to the same extent to me anyway. I just can’t quite see how Keith can have them 14 places apart. Just too much IMO.

    Raikonnen. He’s rated too low given he hasn’t actually made a single major mistake. He’s made loads of minor ones, but lots of them have been in qualifying. And he’s been doing his job pretty well as getting good points for the team. But he just hasn’t done much special, but he’s never exactly been bad. 14th isn’t high enough in my view.

    Ericsson. While I know he isn’t very good, he’s been better this year than the last. By this stage last year, I think he’d had 2 clumsy looking retirements. This year, he’s crashed out of as many races as Vettel and less than Grosjean and Verstappen. Just 1. And Even his retirement in Britain looked a bit strange. His car suddenly twitched without him taking any unusual lines. Will have been his fault, but looked like a mistake that any driver could make. He had a very strong 2nd race in Bahrain and looked good in Austria too and especially good in the rain in Germany which is unusual for him. He clearly has a qualifying weakness, but his races have generally been ok with the odd few that actually looked good, with at least 2 looking strong. I wouldn’t rate him as low as 19th. The 2 Williams drivers and Hartley IMO have looked worse. Stroll can have Baku as a stand out moment, but Ericsson has had more than 1 decent race this year.

    Kevin Maknussen. I don’t think I’d rate him as high as some seem to, but 11th is a little low. He’s been getting good results, but he is certainly not one of the cleanest racers out there. He’s been good in qualifying, but I think his results in that as well as the races have been flattered by Grosjean messing up. When Grosjeans been back to his best, He quite easily does get the better of Magnussen, like he did last year. Although that hasn’t happened often at all this year, it does make me think that Magnussen isn’t quite as amazing as some suggest. The Hass is very strong at a lot of races so a lot of the time, he has only finished where the car should.

    Some that many people seem to think are a bit low, like Hulkenberg and Leclerc, are actually in a realistic position on the rankings on these pages.

    Hulkenberg has been doing a pretty solid job. But I don’t think he’s often exactly stood out. And that retirement in Baku is a major influence on my decision of his ranking. Sorry to say. He made the same mistake last year pretty much. It is rare a driver pretty much mirrors the same mistake at the same track 2 seasons in a row. Especially if you are this experienced. That was a very good chance of a podium thrown away. I think that Sainz had a poor start to this season, and has got a little better since, but he’s now often looking better than Hulkenberg, even more often in qualifying. So I think this sort of position is fair for Hulkenberg.

    Leclerc. Yes, he is rookie. But he’s against Ericsson who certainly is towards the bottom end of the grid for racing talent. The first 3 races, Leclerc didn’t look to have Ericsson’s pace at all. Even though he beat him in qualifying in China, he possibly prevented Ericsson from improving as he spun at the end of the lap. However, Ericsson ignored the yellow flags and didn’t slow down enough which wasn’t great on his side. Leclerc then had a rough race and almost beached his car at one stage when he spun onto the gravel. Since that rough start though (which should count towards his rankings), he improved massively. He has truly dominated Ericsson in qualifying since then, but given what most think of Ericsson, and what was expected of Leclerc, this wasn’t really that surprising. But the gap still shows he’s very good. And I don’t think that many drivers would be getting through to Q1 in that car. Leclerc’s 1 lap pace is his strongest point IMO. He’s had many strong races, but I think he possibly has a slight weakness somewhere, and that is the rain. Ericsson was significantly better in Germany when it rained. He beat Leclerc by a much bigger margin than Leclerc beat him at any other race this year. Then following that, For the first time since China, Ericsson beat Leclerc in qualifying for Hungary. It was wet again. Leclerc didn’t look to struggle exactly, but Ericsson just put together a better lap. So this is why I think putting Leclerc in the top 5 is a little to generous. I rate him 6th because of moving Verstappen down but 7th isn’t too low either. His first 3 races were not good and Ericsson was very close in Monaco, Austria, beat him in Germany and then looked to be doing the same in Hungary. If we judge Ericsson like we do, we have to factor in that either Ericsson isn’t quite as bad as most suggest, or Leclerc isn’t quite as amazing. I think it’s a bit of both. He needs to be against a tougher team mate to make a better judgement.

    The top 5 are all the ones I would have, just move 1 or two. Hamilton has done enough to be 1st. He’s been poor in a few races, but more than made up for that. Alonso 2nd is realistic despite what people say. He’s had 1 race where he didn’t look fully with it. I think that was where Vandoorne beat him, and the only one where that was the case. He’s made no big mistakes at all this season and has looked more solid than almost every other driver. Vettel should be more than 1 places behind Hamilton, so 3rd is fine to me. He made big mistakes in Germany and at the end of Baku (although both looked quite unfortunate) . The most damaging ones of the year. But otherwise, he’s looked on top form to me, just not quite as solid as Alonso or as good as hamilton on his good days. Ricciardo IMO hasn’t been good enough to deserve to be ahead of Bottas. He was part of a huge crash in Azerbaijan and spun in Spain and is starting to fall right behind Verstappen at the moment. He rarely makes costly mistakes and is in my opinion usually the cleanest overtaker of any driver though. I think 5th is more like it. Bottas has been just that bit more solid IMO. He’s been pretty close to Hamilton and often beaten him in qualifying this year. Also doing a lot better in several races. He’s been getting very close to Vettel in a lot of races too. I moved Ricciardo down for the reasons I described and at the same time, I thought Bottas should be that bit closer to Vettel.

    As I said at the start, I may end up changing my mind with a few, but this is just my views on things at the moment.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      17th August 2018, 19:21

      Ups, i really should have thought before i posted this! I coped it from a document i wrote a few days ago, and i had since changed my mind about the top 5 just before this top 5 article was done. But i had copied and pasted it without updating the list. I’d only added what I thought at a description in the 2nd to last paragraph.

      So the top 5 IMO are Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo. That is the issue with writing things elsewhere and trying to copy them in!

    2. Yes, i’m ok with Alonso being 2nd but again take issue with people’s amnesia when it comes to his mistakes. He has made a couple of big mistakes this year. In addition to his subpar performance in France (where he made a big mistake), he also made a big mistake in Austria. In qualifying, he ran wide at the last corner, damaged his front wing, spoiling his chances of getting into the top 10.
      He was scruffy in Germany, running wide trying to overtake & locking up plenty times.

    3. @thegianthogweed Criticizing Hulkenberg for crashing again in Baku and not Ocon, who was involved in a completely unnecessary collision while running in a promising position, for the second year in a row, is hypocritical, especially considering how you are often the first to be unforgiving towards a driver’s mistakes regardless of experience in the sport.

      Also, Hulk’s mistake was at a completely different part of the track, and his crash was quite different from last year. It was not a track specific mistake, he simply choked.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        18th August 2018, 9:47

        I know Ocon did have a double retirement, but to me it is looks a fair bit worse if it just involves yourself at the same track 2 years in a row. I was wrong about it being very similar, but one was turning in to early, one was carrying too much speed and going too wide. Both resulting a retirement. Ocon did retire in Baku last year and take out Perez, but there was no further action. And neither was there action on what happened this year. That is the reason why I did’t go much further into it. It was clumsy fgrom Ocon, but didn’t look quite as helpless as Hulkenberg, who given last year shouldn’t have tried quite as hard.

  14. Personally, I think both Red Bull drivers are too high because Verstappen crashed often early in the season and Ricciardo has been slower than Verstappen recently. Here is my rating.
    1st Lewis Hamilton
    2nd Sebastian Vettel
    3rd Charles Leclerc
    4th Fernando Alonso
    5th Nico Hulkenberg
    6th Valtteri Bottas
    7th Kevin Magnussen
    8th Kimi Raikkonen
    9th Daniel Ricciardo
    10th Esteban Ocon
    11th Pierre Gasly
    12th Max Verstappen
    13th Carlos Sainz
    14th Sergio Perez
    15th Marcus Ericsson
    16th Brendon Hartley
    17th Lance Stroll
    18th Stoffel Vandoorne
    19th Sergey Sirotkin
    20th Romain Grosjean

  15. I have a job. If my colleague beat me either 9 out of 11 times, or 390 out of 550 times, I’d be fired. On Racefans, you’re top four.

    1. I have a country colleague. I had better car than he is. He beat me on the real rank. On Racefans, I’m top five, and he was nowhere near top ten.

      1. I assume you’re referring to bottas, who was 5th, and raikkonen 14th, since both are finnish, it’s definitely arguable whether mercedes is stronger than ferrari, I’d say slightly weaker this year, but definitely they could be close in rank, not 9 places.

  16. Hamilton has had multiple off weekends. That’s being in the most dominant team of all time. He shouldn’t be number 1 so far.

    1. Difficult to pick anyone else, though, to be honest. Hamilton has indeed had off weekends, but he also had a few outstanding moments, and he could have been further in the lead had Mercedes not botched the early races. And he hasn’t made the kinds of bad and costly mistakes seen from Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo and even Bottas.

      1. Alonso has made fewer mistakes, even the call for wet tires was made by Mclaren and he disagreed. Hamilton is on machinery with such an advantage that mistakes cost him very little. The Mercedes can start races at the back of the grid and be in the top four well before the races finishes. Compare that to a Mclaren? And I suppose the kicker is that he’s already informed the team he was leaving. In my opinion it’s clear who the best driver has been so far, and it’s not the guy who’s had the best car on the grid for the last 4 years.

        1. Merc isn’t the best car this year though ;)

  17. I can see why Dan could be picked ahead of Max if you weigh in Max mistakes, but ahead of Bottas? No way. Dan has only showed something in Monaco and China, the rest of his races were unimpressive. Max made mistakes for sure and that should be enough for him being out of the top 3, but he recover and showed improvement and comfortably outperformed, outpaced and outscored Dan since Monaco.

    And Vettel seems to get 3rd even though he made as many mistakes and is throwing away a title.
    That is beyond me. Vettel should have been 44 points ahead easily.
    Especially with Kimi in 14th, I get the feeling this evaluation is way off.
    And Alonso? Batteling in 7-13 is easy for a man of his talent.
    1) Hamilton
    2) Kimi
    3) Bottas
    4) Max
    5) Dan
    6) Vettel

  18. Ridiculous, Vettel several mistakes are dismissed as nothing much Baku,France,Germany, even going out from first place in a track where no other driver went out is a “minor” mistake.

    If Vettel is 3rd Kimi should be not much further back.

    1. Except Vettel has looked sharp and a real title contender, except when he’s made a big mess. That’s the real difference. Also the dilemma for Ferrari. His pace and application is unquestionable. The problem resides with the ‘brain fades’ racing at or up near the front, which, like last year, could put the drivers’ title out of reach.

    2. The difference between Vettel and Räikkönen this year is quite large, even if you account for team-orders.
      Räikkönen’s season has been lackluster. He made an awful lot of mistakes in qualifying and in the races he just seems to fade away. Under normal circumstances he would be just ahead of the Red Bull drivers in the standings, far behind Bottas, but due to luck (China and Baku for example) he is now 3rd.

  19. Haha lot of whinging and whining going on about who is where on a silly little list. At the end of the yr it’s who holds up the trophy. The fact is Hamilton is on his way to becoming WDC. Which means he will go down in history as NO1 for 2018. Personally I think Alonso is better and has been since day one. But for several reasons not connected to his driving ability he “only” won two WDCs. I also think Ricciardo is every bit as good as Vettel or Hamilton and better than Verstappen at this point in time. But again it’s just how things work out.
    Someone above mentioned Clarke saying he was better than Verstappen. I have to agree he was bloody amazing. The younger posters should have a look at the history and watch some of the drivers of the past. Fangio, Clarke, Prost, Stewart, Schumacher and of course Senna have all reached legendary status for a reason. They were simply just the best. They all could drive at 10/10s consistently and bring the car home again and again and again. I think Alonso will end up in that category as well.
    As for the Ricciardo v Verstappen debate….as I have said before they are very different in the way they approach a race and driving styles. I lean towards Ricciardo as I think he is a smarter driver, but I’m patient, I can wait till seasons end to see who is the winner.

  20. I was one of those who didn’t agree with a few choices in the first 2 parts of the rankings, but the 3rd seems done much better, could’ve been done differently, but it’s hard to say this one is wrong.

    Bottas was incredibly unlucky and would be much closer to hamilton if not for that, ricciardo also did almost everything perfect, had mechanical problems, had a verstappen’s fault crash, won a race with a mgu-k issue, the only negative is he wasn’t as fast as verstappen; vettel drove very well, was always on the pace, but made several mistakes that cost him a lot, alonso drove superbly except france and I’m sure would be leading with a ferrari or mercedes, he combines the “always on top” form vettel has with the “no mistakes” form hamilton has, so maybe only marginally, but he should be ahead both driving a ferrari and a merc, not with a red bull, I think he’d be third, the car lacks too much in terms of qualifying and power tracks; and hamilton had a couple of off weekends but for the rest avoided mistakes and had some great drives.

  21. Alonso’s P2 position given by Keith is a positively surprise to me. Others place him around Red Bull drivers, but I honestly don’t know what he could have done more. For me he is the driver of the season as Hamilton was outqualified by Bottas many times. Alonso did everything right. That shows how much influence car performance has on many rankings, Keith’s ones are looking much healthier still.

  22. Tough one, driving has been mostly poor to horrid so far this season. My 2c anyway


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